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24th Jan 2017

Munster will be doing well to hang onto Rassie Erasmus, judging by reports in South Africa

This is a massive deal

Patrick McCarry

Less than 24 hours after Rassie Erasmus guided Munster to a home quarter final in the Champions Cup, there were reports in South Africa linking him to the Springboks job.

Erasmus has transformed Munster’s fortunes in less than a season and, despite nothing being won until May, the province’s resurgence has led to speculation in his home-land. Erasmus’ lawyer has strenuously denied his client will leave Munster but that has not staunched the flow of stories.

South Africa Rugby [SARU] president Mark Alexander might as well have shown current Boks coach Allister Coetzee the door when, late last year, he failed to back him.

“We’re not sure which way we’re going, whether we’re keeping Allister or not,” Alexander told City Press. “We still have presentations to go through but no formal decision has been made on whether we’re going forward with him or not. At the end of January we’ll make an announcement on whether we’re keeping him.”

Hardly a ringing endorsement.

Plan A had been to bring in former Saracens head coach Brendan Venter to assist Coetzee and take over the defensive aspect of the Springboks game-plan. That went out the window on Monday as Venter was announced as Italy’s new defence coach, under Conor O’Shea.

Plan B appears to be getting in Erasmus and Munster assistant coach Jacques Nienaber. Netwerk 24 is reporting that SARU is willing to buy both men out of their current Munster contracts and offer them five-year deals. Erasmus could be in line to earn 36 million Rand [€2.5m] over five years.

The offer, if close to the mark, would be a tempting one for former South African international Erasmus but he may feel completely committed to Munster after all that he and the province has been through since his April 2016 arrival.

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